CLEVELAND, Ohio-- She survived a brutal attack at the hands of suspected serial killer Michael Madison, and a Cleveland woman is now sharing her amazing story of survival with the FOX 8 I-Team.
The victim told the I-Team, "He said 'if you say anything, I'll kill you,' and I'm like, I'm just grabbing him, like 'get off of me.'"
The Cleveland woman says she met Madison in October 2001, when the then 23-year-old offered to help her get a ride home from her cousin's place in East Cleveland. "I was walking. He was behind me and he grabbed me from the behind and covered my mouth and I'm tussling," she said.
The then 18-year-old victim says even though Madison threatened to kill her if she continued to fight or scream, her instincts told her that if she did not fight, she was going to die.
She told the I-Team, "I was like 'get off of me, get off of me', and he grabbed me, and trying to touch me and pull my pants down. I'm holding them real tight, like 'no,' and I'm grabbing and clawing him to get off of me."
The victim was extremely fortunate because neighbors heard her cries for help and called East Cleveland police, who then arrested Michael Madison at the scene.
Based on what the officers saw with their own eyes and the victim's detailed description of the attack, Madison was charged with kidnapping, attempted rape and gross sexual imposition.
In 2002, he pleaded guilty to the attempted rape charge and was sentenced to four years in prison.
The victim says she had a good reason to follow through every step of the way. She said, "Because I didn't want him, I'll be going somewhere, catching a bus and I didn't want him coming for me again."
Fast forward 12 years. On Saturday, the victim was watching coverage of the discovery of the bodies of three women in East Cleveland, and learned that Michael Madison had been arrested for the crimes.
"I couldn't believe it. I was like 'oh my god, that's the same guy.'"
She says she now realizes she could have been the first known victim of a man now accused of being a serial killer. "I just feel so sorry for the ladies that he did that to. I feel so sorry," she said, “And blessed that it wasn't me."